Meet the 2020 Fellows

We would like to announce the 62nd class of Coro Fellows in Public Affairs, one of the longest running leadership development programs in the nation.

Semi Cole
University of California, Riverside
B.A. Political Science and Public Policy, Minor in Sociology
At University of California, Riverside, Semi Cole channeled his passion for community leadership and political advocacy to make positive strides towards improving the campus culture. As Student Body President, he worked to improve the student experience, with the creation of scholarships, the expansion of mental health services and programming, and efforts to reduce student hunger and homelessness. He previously worked with Lauren Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective, supporting their work in environmental innovation. In addition, Semi has developed international business acumen through work with various EduTech ventures. After Coro, Semi hopes to pursue public office in the Inland Empire.

R. William Dahlin
University of Redlands
B.A. Public Policy, Minor in Sociology and Anthropology
Raised in the San Fernando Valley, China, and Indonesia, William Dahlin graduated from the University of Redlands in 2018. While there, he engaged in student life through various diversity, wellness, and education organizations, including Dudes Understanding Diversity and Ending Stereotypes. William is interested in the intersection of environmental and technological change, social movements, and public policy. Since graduating, he has worked in civic engagement, leading voter registration teams with HeadCount and working on political campaigns. William hopes his time as a Coro Fellow will lead to a future career in public service, focusing on policymaking and education.

Tiffany M. Darden
University of California, Los Angeles
B.A. Political Science with a specialization in Race and Ethnicity, Minor in Entrepreneurship
Tiffany Darden is passionate about social justice reform: Before becoming a Coro Fellow, she completed a study analyzing the psychological impact of police brutality on communities of color and how that affects their relationship with law enforcement. She also completed a fellowship with Congresswoman Karen Bass and worked at the law firm Geragos & Geragos on monumental cases, including Colin Kaepernick v. NFL. Tiffany’s ultimate dream is to be Attorney General of the United States and plans to pursue law school after Coro.

Adrienne Ullman Epstein
University of Texas, Austin
B.A. Sociology, Government, and Women’s & Gender Studies, Minor in Business
While at the University of Texas, Adrienne Epstein researched the effects of mitigation, race, and gender in federal death penalty cases, which culminated in her thesis. Adrienne also served as an active student leader in the Senate of College Councils as the Administrative Director. She interned for U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu, Annie’s List, and Ambassador Eisen at The Brookings Institution as an Archer Fellow in D.C. Adrienne is passionate about criminal justice and women’s rights, and hopes to pursue a career in advocacy after her fellowship.

Zahra Hajee
University of California, Los Angeles
B.A. Psychology, Minor in Public Affairs
During her time at UCLA, Zahra Hajee learned about policy reform as a statewide student advocate with the non-profit organization Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and through government roles with the City of Los Angeles, California State Legislature, and U.S. House of Representatives. She recently served as the UCLA Undergraduate Facilities Commissioner, and in this elected office led initiatives to improve campus infrastructure, resources, and environment for over forty thousand students. After Coro, Zahra hopes to develop methods of innovative collaboration, contribute to impactful programs and policies, and translate community-centered values to her work towards social equity.

Willow Grace Higgins
University of Redlands
B.A. English Literature and Public Policy with an emphasis in Political Journalism, Minor in Political Science
Willow Higgin’s interests in public policy and journalism dovetail with her commitment to advocacy. As Editor-in-Chief of her school newspaper, Willow wrote and passed a governing charter that protects the publication’s free press. Within the Public Policy department, Willow founded an emphasis in political journalism, which culminated with a thesis examining media coverage of mass shootings. During an editorial internship with Texas Monthly, Willow published several articles and did extensive research on the family separation issue at the border. Willow graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from University of Redlands, and hopes that her time as a Coro Fellow will further a career in political and investigative journalism.

Serena Arielle Limas
California State University, Los Angeles
B.A. English
At Cal State LA, Serena Limas majored in English and served as a Fellow with the Coaching Corps to recruit coaches to provide sports programming in underserved communities surrounding the campus. As an undergraduate, she worked as a youth development professional at the Boys and Girls Club of Ramona Gardens and completed several service-oriented internships. Serena coaches basketball in East LA and was honored as the Coach of the Year by Coaching Corps. She has partnered with Nike to recruit women coaches for L.A.’s Recreation and Parks, and after her fellowship, plans to become a lawyer in order to make change in communities like hers.

Ted Olguin
University of New Mexico
B.A. Political Science
University of Missouri, St. Louis

M.A. Elementary Education
Ted Olguin’s passion for service led him to St. Louis, where he served as a Teach for America Corps member for two years in a second-grade classroom. During his time there, he worked with the administration and staff to help coordinate and plan critical intervention groups designed to target and support the most at-risk students at the lower elementary level. Ted is a lifelong learner who believes that a positive classroom environment can have a profound impact on even the most underserved communities. Ted hopes that his education experience can offer a unique perspective to the rest of the Coro Fellows cohort while they study Los Angeles’ political landscape.

Axel Sarkissian
University of California, Los Angeles
B.A. Political Science, Minors in Public Affairs and Urban & Regional Studies
A Los Angeles native, Axel graduated from UCLA where he studied government, public policy, and urban planning, and received the Public Service Leadership Award. As an undergraduate, he interned for the City of Los Angeles and spent two consecutive summers at the Department of State in Washington, D.C., where he worked on international transportation policy and crisis management. After Coro, Axel will pursue a law degree at the University of Pennsylvania.    

Kayla Tilton, MPH
University of Southern California
B.S. Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, Minor in Health Admin
M.P.H. Public Health, Concentration in Health Services & Policy

Kayla Tilton moved to Los Angeles from Honolulu to study Public Health at USC. During her studies and volunteering in hospitals, Kayla was exposed to the severity of health disparities and inequities that exist locally. Interested in tackling public health issues for vulnerable and underserved populations in the public policy sphere, she then pursued her MPH at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. Kayla also interned for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Second District Office’s Health Policy Team where she determined her long-term goal of collaborating with policymakers and communities to prevent violence and improve health access in South Los Angeles.